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Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders: The Neil Flambe Capers #1 Hardcover – March 9, 2010

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Neil Flambe Capers Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Neil Flambé is an interesting teen—a passionate chef, ignored son of a lawyer mom and an ad-executive dad, overwhelmed student, and the "Nose" to Inspector Nakamura, who relies heavily on him to help solve cases. When chefs across town turn up murdered, Neil sniffs some strange spices at the crime scenes, but he can't quite put his finger on what they are, which is unusual for him. When he stumbles upon a journal once owned by Marco Polo, he gives it to his cousin to transcribe. As the journal unfolds, it becomes more and more evident that the deaths are somehow tied to Marco Polo's long-ago journey to take a princess to her betrothed. Polo went to his grave with that secret, thinking no one would ever discover his terrible mistake. A romance between Isabella, the daughter of a chef, and Neil is a little mature for a 14-year-old but it probably won't bother middle school readers. This would be a great book-club choice. Participants could create the perfect seven-course meal as an accompaniment to discussing such an engaging and lively read.—Julie Shatterly, W.A. Bess Elementary School, Gastonia, NC
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"This exuberant culinary mystery has the behind-the-scenes panache of Disney’s Ratatouille and is held together by a kid who is as cocky in the kitchen as Gordon Ramsay (whose blurb graces the cover!).
Fourteen-year-old Neil Flambé is pretty much a failure when it comes to math, chemistry, and art, but he is a genius when applying those subjects to his own recipes at his celebrated Vancouver restaurant. Neil has got a superdeveloped olfactory sense, and the police call him “The Nose” while using him to sniff around crime scenes. The latest call to detect trace evidence involves a series of murders of Vancouver’s top chefs. Neil picks up an exotic chai spice mixture on the dead chefs’ lips and a baffling “something else” that he can’t quite put his nose on. The murders continue, and Neil himself, unable to solve the crimes, becomes the chief suspect. First published in Canada in 2010, this series starter is over-the-top fun and features an intriguing link to Marco Polo’s last voyage."
— Booklist --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Series: Neil Flambe Capers (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Key Porter Books (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554702666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554702664
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,544,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hi everyone.

My name is Kevin Sylvester and I am an illustrator, writer and broadcaster. I was born and raised in Youngstown, New York and now live with my family in Toronto, Canada.

You may have heard about my young chef/detective, Neil Flambé. He is the hero of a series of books that starts with "Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders". Neil tries to keep his restaurant running while running from the police. Chefs are dying. Is he the killer? The book won the prestigious Silver Birch Fiction award in Ontario in 2011.

Neil heads to Mexico City for the second book, "Neil Flambé and the Aztec Abduction". He has a chance to win a huge Iron-Chef style competition, but then his friend Isabella Tortellini is kidnapped. A note tells him to lose in the final or she dies. This was the Silver Birch runner-up in 2012.

Book Three, "Neil Flambé and the Crusader's Curse" was nominated for the 2013 Silver Birch! Neil fights some old enemies in Vancouver and Paris.

Book Four, "Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure" takes Neil to Japan, to look for his missing cousin Larry. It was nominated for the 2014 Silver Birch!

Book Five, "Neil Flambé and the Bard's Banquet" finds Neil searching London, England for a missing Shakespearian "jewel".

Super-chef Gordon Ramsay calls the series "Good Fun" and it had garnered critical praise and sales!

There are lots of other books to check out as well.

"Baseballogy" has lots of weird and interesting facts about America's pastime, such as early pitcher sometimes used fish eyeballs as the centers for baseballs!

Cindy Winters is the hero of "Splinters", my first picture book. Cindy is a young girl who only wants to play hockey, but the mean coach and her daughters won't let her. Can her fairy goaltender come to the rescue?

"Game Day" is a look behind the scenes at sporting events. I interviewed twenty fascinating people - from anthem singers to Zamboni drivers. The athletes can't do a darned thing if these people don't do their jobs and do them well.

"Showtime" take a similar look at the world of show business.

"Follow Your Money" takes a look at common financial transactions.

I've been lucky enough to write and illustrate three other best-selling books -"Sports Hall of Weird" and "Gold Medal for Weird" for kids and Shadrin Has Scored for Russia for bigger kids. "Gold Medal" won the 2009 Silver Birch for Non-Fiction.

I'm also a broadcaster and was a regular on national radio in Canada for years and years. I even covered eight Olympic Games. My favourite Games were the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games. I fell in love with the city and produced a documentary on Torino called "The Invisible City". I've produced other documentaries on topics ranging from racism in hockey to the history of church bells in Canada.

I now spend most of my time in my attic studio.

As for education, I came to Toronto to study English and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. I've also studied Fine Arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design. I was named a Massey Journalism Scholar in 2007 and used the time to study theology at the University of Toronto.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Entertaining and wonderfully clever. A great combination of a smart story wrapped around the cooking details that true foodies will relate to and celebrate. Great book for any age. Well done.
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Format: Hardcover
From my nine year old son:

"Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders is full of action, mystery and romance. You name it, this book has it. I would recommend it for anyone, especially picky eaters."
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